Three Secrets in Maine

for String Orchestra

Carter Pann

Rental
Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

THREE SECRETS IN MAINE (2010)
for String Orchestra

Carter Pann

In the summer of 2010 I set out to find an extremely secluded place near the coast of Maine in which to live for two months and set to writing a work for string orchestra. This was one of those "labor of love" pieces I cherish working on... Off commission. I had lived in Italy the previous summer for two months and was hoping to continue a pattern of long-term travel. I had never yet been to Maine, but I have always had a somewhat mythic idea of its beauty and seclusion. Natives of the great state can trace their ancestors back 8 or 9 generations to the original settlers. Indeed one can find tombstones with such dates as 1805-1841 peppered throughout the hundreds of cemeteries across the landscape. Its population alone is smaller than that of many American cities. In short, there is something still untouched by the outer world in Maine.

I took a studio in mid-May of 2010, owned by a beautiful artist living just outside South Bristol, south of Damariscotta, and she allowed me to rent an upright piano and have it moved into a tiny cabin just behind the studio. This is where composition began and ended over the 57 days I was in Maine.

I. The Running Alewives at Damariscotta Mills
Every summer, for about 2 weeks, millions of Alewives (a species of herring) travel through the narrow stream connecting two larger river outlets in Damariscotta Mills. This steep and upward fish ladder (series of mini waterfalls) is positively overrun with fish climbing to spawn (and die soon after). I remember thinking that if I were to fall into the stream I might not even plunge below the waterline. I may never see so many fish at one time ever again.

II. Cycling South Bristol
A ritual of mine during my stay in Maine, thanks to my wonderful hostess, was to take her bicycle down the road and into South Bristol. South Bristol is an island, connected to the mainland by a rotating drawbridge (a great solution for letting all the lobster boats in and out of The Gut at any time). My routine was to circumnavigate South Bristol and discover something new every time. The feeling I had during these rides was unlike any I can remember. The quietude on the boulder-coasted island with the immediate proximity of the Atlantic Ocean was a scene to behold which inspired a sense of contentment never to forget. Christmas Cove, located on the southern side of the island, spills out to the ocean and inspired a tune in the center of this movement (which is in fact a simple variant of the first theme).

III. In Silence, Adrift under Venus, Alone
In addition to a cycling ritual I had the opportunity to kayak on the Damariscotta river just a minute-walk from the studio. The temptation to go out on the river after dusk was too great... To drift under the stars and look at Venus by the light of the brightest, most consistent moonlight I have ever known. Flanked by thick forest coasts, in nothing but a small kayak with a flashlight, I exercised my own childhood fears of the dark and unknown. This movement is a painting of what I experienced in one of the most unlikely places and situations I have ever been... out on that river under the cradling universe. -CP

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Additional Information

Composition Date 2010
Duration 00:22:00
Orchestration Str.

Details

I. The Running Alewives at Damariscotta Mills
II. Cycling South Bristol
III. In Silence, Adrift under Venus, Alone

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